The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 5, 2010

Energy task force continues down green path

For almost a year, the Energy Task Force has been conducting audits of all town buildings and has implemented projects to improve energy and water-efficiency. To date, the town has funded all these efforts. If Carlisle obtains “green” classification by the state under the Green Communities Act, however, the town can apply for state funding to pay for some of the projects. Almost 40 other towns have qualified as green and have received state money.

Task Force Chair Dan Cook outlined the requirements for Carlisle to obtain funding and focused on the chief outstanding issue, that of having the town pass a Planning Board bylaw that allows expeditious “as of right” siting of solar power generating facilities over an acre of land. The Green Communities Act defines as-of-right siting as “siting that provides for the allowed use of and does not unreasonably regulate or require a special permit.”

Selectman Chair John Williams warned the task force to “avoid going down the wind-turbine path” and focus only on municipal solar power for now.

Task Force member Steve Hinton clarified that the group would define the bylaw with a “highly narrowed focus” so that it would apply to a specific site rather than the whole town. Cook cited the transfer station as a possible site. Hinton reminded the group, “The idea is not to build facilities, but to meet the requirement.” He said other towns have qualified using a very limited focus.

Planning Board Chair David Freedman said, “We want to be clear that expediting permitting is only specific to by-right solar.” He did note that in Lincoln expeditious planning board review for a solar project took a year, and humorously observed, “Carlisle, even when not expediting, is very expeditious.”

Williams encouraged the task force to continue with its research and work in preparation for May 2011 Town Meeting. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito